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Hanna learns to use her magic in the YA fantasy 'The Wizard's Promise'

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The Wizard's Promise by Cassandra Rose Clarke

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Cassandra Rose Clarke's latest young adult fantasy "The Wizard's Promise" http://www.amazon.com/Wizards-Promise-Cassandra-Rose-Clarke-ebook/dp/B00GL3HQ9I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398608436&sr=8-1&keywords=The+wizard%27s+promise is a coming of age story about a young untrained teenage wind witch, Hanna Euli, who dreams about going on an adventure and becoming a powerful witch. However, she is apprenticed to old Kolur, a fisherman by trade and feels stuck. Of course Kolur is more than just a grumpy fisherman, and Hanna soon finds herself on an unexpected adventure. She does a lot of growing up in this first book of her two novel story as she learns to use her powers with the help of a magical wind being from the North.

When Kolur requires Hanna's help on his latest night fishing trip, Hanna reluctantly comes aboard the Penelope, his fishing boat, and before she knows it, she is fighting off a magical storm. Instead of going home after the storm, Kolur has brought the Penelope to a completely different island, where he has partnered up with Frida, a powerful witch. Kolur and Frida need to travel north and they are taking Hanna. The North is dangerous because its close to the Mists, where powerful magical creatures, who prey on men, reside. North is also where Jandanvar, a fabled city of wonders is located. Kolur, however, will not tell Hanna anything about why he needs to go North, leaving Hanna, betrayed and depressed, and the reader in the dark.

Clarke is very good at world building and the setting and the sailing and fishing scenes are excellent. However, Hanna's unhappiness with being kidnapped and kept in the dark about Kolur's purpose for his journey up North and Hanna' growing pains takes up too much of the middle of the novel. Hanna comes off very whiny and homesick. This middle section of the novel is a slog to get through.

During this long middle section, Hanna soon meets Isolfr, a magical being, who comes to her secretly at night. Isolfr wants Hanna's help to thwart an evil attack on the world and takes Hanna between realms to find some answers. We learn that Lord Foxfollow, a powerful and evil Mistdweller is trying to bring the Mists into the world. Kolur and Frida are on a mission to stop him from some evil purpose. But Isolfr thinks Hanna is the key and wants to help her fight off Foxfollow.

Hanna and Kolur become separated in the last third of the book and Hanna has to learn to use her magic to help fishermen. She does a lot of growing in this part of the story and there is more action and magic. This part of the story is much better. We can almost forget the middle long stretch of the book filled with unhappy teenager determined to get home and adults with secrets, who want to protect her from the truth. Almost.

This is the first book in a duology. My expectation is that the second book in this story will be a better overall read now that Hanna is more trusting of Isolfr and understands her powers better.

I received this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It is being published on May 6, 2014.

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